Rethinking everything!

Since my last post, a LOT has happened, and a lot of nothing too.

Let me elaborate on the “LOT” part anyway:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or off the internet, easily confused between the two) the last few months, you might have read the viral Gawker article from the “Science Babe” Yvette d’Entremont (aka SciBabe) going after “Food Babe” Vani Harti, titled “The Food Babe blogger is full of shit“. Basically, it puts much of Vani’s contradictions under a microscope and exposes her for being a fraud who knows nothing of what she’s talking about, despite her claims of being some sort of food guru. Granted before this I had never heard of the Food Babe, but the warning was appreciated.

SciBabe’s article also created an overnight backlash against what many would call “woo”, or any unsubstantiated claims without scientific backing. Practically overnight came the rise of the skeptic. I have to admit that the article had an impact on me, causing me to re-evaluate and re-think many things I took as cannon. Many things I looked at and took at face value, assuming the one’s providing me with accurate information had done their research. I wanted to believe. I wanted to think that everything had a natural cure for it and we didn’t have to rely on “Big Pharma”. Now, I realise the info they were giving me was not only inaccurate (lemon water changing blood ph is still one of my favourites), but they couldn’t provide proof of their claims besides “studies show”. Many of those said studies either did not exist, or came from dubious sources. I’ve always called myself an open-minded skeptic, but this taught me to take my questioning to a new level and look at the evidence at hand and face some of the new truths: GMO’s are not evil. Bees are not dying in record numbers. Organic is not better, and uses just as many “toxic” sprays as conventional farming, even though they come from natural sources. Lemons will not cure everything. Correlation is not causation. And it’s the dose that makes the poison. Hell, even water is toxic if taken in large enough quantities. I’ve started to go through my FB page and remove some of the articles and pictures that can’t scientifically be verified, or are misrepresented by trumped-up claims. I can’t in good conscience promote ideals like that anymore.

What I also got from the article, was an introduction to a fitness writer by the name of James Fell at Body For Wife. James has become my own guru in a way. He has exactly what I’ve been looking for; someone who’s going to give it to me straight with no BS. He’s not trying to sell me on products, supplements or a system. He’s honest, to the point, tells it as it is, and can scientifically back his claims and methods. He’s done his research on research. I’m not going to go on about him or I’d be here for a while. I highly recommend anyone to check out his website and follow him on FB.

As for the lot of nothing, well that’s been everything that’s happened (or hasn’t) up until about a month ago.

That will be the next blog post.

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DDP Yoga: Round two.

I had the best of intentions and the worst of implementations when I first started doing DDP Yoga.

Through bad timing and excuses on my part, a routine schedule that should have taken me three weeks ended up taking a month or more. While I was still active outdoors during the late summer and fall, this routine fell by the wayside under the “I’ll get to it later” category. After a sedimentary winter and warning signs of weight starting to creep up, it was time to get going on something again.

So here I am, relatively back at square one. It’s been a week since I started and I’m doing my best at keeping up a schedule for it. Heck, my last workout was at 11 pm just so I could say I did one that day! If I can stick to a three times a week schedule (like I should have done in the first place), I should be on track.

Another difference this time is I signed up for their support page at TeamDDPYoga.com, which has the claim of “The best damn support group in the world!”. When I first signed up for the page I got several welcome messages, one of them even from DDP himself, and later on the infamous Arthur Boorman! While the response has been impressive, it’s also been incredibly overwhelming, almost to the point of information overload. It’s like having the knowledge of the planet at your fingertips, but not knowing what questions to ask. Eventually I’ll get there, as my eating habits could still use a lot of work, or at least focusing in the right direction.

But for now, establishing the workout routine is more important.

Anything is possible, if you know H.O.W.!

I like anyone who can teach me something new or help put a new perspective on life.

During today’s Doctor visit (everything’s going smashing from his perspective BTW, details to follow) he shared a nugget of wisdom with me. He said that to make effective changes in your life, you need to know the acronym H.O.W.. It means HONESTY, OPENNESS, and WILLINGNESS.

Damn! One for the Doc!

Let me break it down into how I define it:

HONESTY – I have another blog post in draft form called The Lies We Tell Ourselves that touches on this subject. The bottom line is that at some point, you have to quit lying to yourself. “I don’t need to change my diet” or “I’m perfectly healthy the way I am” as examples. You need to really take a hard look at things and realize that whatever it is that you’re doing, isn’t working. The lies create a comfortable trap that we’re more than happy to sit in while waiting for it to eventually snap shut. You stay in the trap, you die. Bottom line. Being honest and realizing that change is necessary opens up the door for:

OPENNESS – For the change to come, we must be willing to accept new ideas and new methods, some of which may completely rock our worlds and what we’ve believed over time. Because what we were doing before wasn’t working, those methods and ideas must be put side for new paths of learning, whatever they may be.

WILLINGNESS – The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Whether you’re a saint or a junkie, if you do not have the willingness to change, no change will come. Even if someone could force you to do it, the change would not last because even though you may want it, you have to be willing to do what is necessary for those changes to come. Nothing is possible without this.

You want to change? HOW to do it is right here! No matter what you do or want to do, someone can show you the path, but nothing will happen until YOU take that first step. And that’s just part of the willingness, now isn’t it?

For Parminder: Rest in Peace.

Paminder Hundal July 12, 1973 - July 01, 2012

Paminder Hundal
July 12, 1973 – July 01, 2012

In writing, every good story contains a tragedy somewhere in it. My story is no different.

While growing up in Prince Rupert, Parminder was my best friend. When I left Rupert in 1988, I kept in touch with Parm for a while, but as with time and distance, we grew apart. There’s times throughout the years I would wonder how he was doing and where he was, as I often do with people from my past (some I’d hope to hear of messy ends, but I digress). A couple years ago, I get a Facebook message from Parm asking “Is this the Jason that used to live in Prince Rupert?”.

I couldn’t believe it! He found ME!

We chatted online a few times and gave each other the Cliff Notes version of our lives over the years. We talked about meeting up – whenever one of us was in the other’s area of the province – and sitting down over some beers and catching up. Before  going to India, he insisted in calling and talking, even if it was just for a few minutes. It was good to hear his voice again after all those years. Still sounded like him, just with more maturity in the voice. We joked around. “You haven’t changed a bit!” he said, when in fact I had. I was not the same person he knew, and I couldn’t wait to show him that. He was supposed to be passing through my area and we talked about meeting. I never got the call. Next time I’m in the Lower |Mainland, I thought. We had gone down through Vancouver a few times but they were whirlwind trips. Next time, I thought.

There’s always next time.

On July 2nd in 2012, I read a Facebook post he was tagged in that filled me with shock, sadness, and regret. One of his brothers had posted “R.I.P Bro!!! Will love and miss u forever!!!“. I kept wishing that this was a bad inside joke I wasn’t privy to. I waited to see if the punchline would come. The only thing that came was an outpouring of condolences from friends and family.

Now, next time would never come.

I was informed by a family member that Parm had a heart attack while his wife and daughter were out. His daughter found him when they came home a couple hours later. Here I was severely overweight and feeling generally like crap. I pictured myself in the same situation and envisioned my son finding me as Parm’s daughter found him. At that time I was just over 2 1/2 months away from my 40th birthday, and Parm was less than 2 weeks away from his 39th. A chill went up my spine. I forgot he was younger than me!

I had been sitting on my ass for a few years feeling sorry for myself and generally feeling awful. I had mulled about doing something to improve my health, but it never went past that. Pure laziness on my part. I had no real “kicker” to get me off of the couch and start looking after myself. I had nothing, until now. This finally scared me, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment, this would be the start of my journey. Today is the one-year anniversary since I learned of his passing. During this time I’ve lost almost 35 pounds and looking to lose another 35 or more afterwards. I’ve learned to get out and enjoy the outdoors again and hold family time precious.

They say everything happens for a reason, and some believe that spirits – in human form – come into our lives to guide our course and experiences here on earth. Parm’s cousin told me that during the last year of his life, he went out of his way to make sure he got in contact with people from his past. In a way, its like some part of him knew. I often wonder if Parm’s death was his spirit’s sacrifice of time on this world so I can learn from it and continue mine, perhaps to be an example to others as opposed to a lesson. I’ll never know that truth while bring part of this world, but if this is true, thank you Parminder for making such a sacrifice.

Enjoy the day and the opportunities it brings. One day, there will be no more ‘next time’.